Feeling the Squeeze

Feeling the Squeeze

Roy Foster

A new study of the decline of the Protestant community in independent Ireland deals principally not with the Big Houses or the commercial bourgeoisie but with the ‘little people’ and their response to the violence and threats of violence they faced during the Troubles.

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Why Kill Charlie?

Why Kill Charlie?

Max McGuinness

Stéphane Charbonnier (‘Charb’), the murdered editor of ‘Charlie Hebdo’, was a distinctly old-fashioned leftist – of the kind which has no hang-ups about hurting people’s feelings. For him, ridicule was a quasi-religious cause, one for which he was prepared to sacrifice himself.

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Married to the Mob

Married to the Mob

David McKechnie

The moral compass of much of traditional journalism can look quaint when the outraged vigilante democracy of Twitter is unleashed. As Jon Ronson’s new book makes clear, these vicious contemporary bullyings and shamings are not driven by ‘them’ but by ‘us’.

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Well, Kerrang!!!

Peter Sirr

Michael Hofmann is a poet, essayist and translator. The latter activity, he has said, he undertakes partially to compensate for the slimness of his poetic work but he also has strong views, in particular noisily rejecting the idea that translation should be transparent or impersonal.

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Goodbye Schweinhund, Hallo Nachbar?

Seán OHuiginn

A number of recently published books give hope that the ‘fog of war’ which has blanketed the modern British view of Germany is beginning to lift, allowing a view of the nation in the perspective of its entire history and not just the disastrous twelve-year episode of the Third Reich.

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He Had to Do Something

George O’Brien

Sean O’Faoláin was not exactly a man of the people but a man who had ideas of the people. He was a Catholic, but he’d be damned if he was an Irish Catholic, and his taste veered towards the haute bourgeois, which was not the kind of thing you would shop locally for.

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Not all Beef and Ale

John McCourt

Anthony Trollope has the reputation of being a conventional and comfortable writer, valued by various Tory prime ministers as a purveyor of enjoyable light political intrigue but in his Irish novels he emerges as a somewhat more complex and double-sided figure.

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A Bit of Help, Comrade?

John Mulqueen

Throughout the 1980s, two left-wing parties, the increasingly ambitious and successful SFWP, later WP, and the Communist Party of Ireland (CPI) competed for the favour and financial support of the Soviet bloc. But at the end of the decade it all came tumbling down.

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Wrong Train, Right Station

Sean Sheehan

William Blake placed Dante alongside the prophets of the Old Testament, Homer and Shakespeare as an embodiment of poetic genius and he worked studiously on a series of drawings illustrating episodes from the Divine Comedy in the last years of life.

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Invitation to the Dance

Kevin Stevens

Over twenty-four years, starting in 1951, Anthony Powell wrote a remarkable series of a dozen novels exploring English upper class and bohemian life from soon after the First World War to the 1970s through the themes of war, love, art, class, family, politics and death.

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Reason of Past History

Brian Earls

While sympathy for Poland, as the recurring victim of Tsarist repression, was widespread in nineteenth century Europe, in Ireland this assumed an intensity and duration which seems to have been unparalleled elsewhere.

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'Them Poor Irish Lads' in Pennsylvania

Breandán Mac Suibhne

The late nineteenth and early twentieth century in America was a time of great confrontation between workers and bosses over wages, working conditions and unionisation. In these circumstances there grew up in the Pennsylvania coalfields a secret militant organisation with close ties to the Irish community.

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Blood On Their Hands

Linda Melvern

Inside a few months in 1994 up to a million people were massacred in Rwanda. There have since been trials of fugitives in Germany, Norway, Finland, Netherlands and Sweden, but in France, where a large number of senior suspects appears to be sitting comfortably, there is little activity.

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The Green Fuse

Billy Mills

Dylan Thomas read and learned from Auden, as they both read and learned from Eliot. However, where Auden saw the neo-Augustan classicist in the older poet, Thomas could see ‘the skull beneath the skin’ and shared Eliot’s fascination with the irrational and grotesque.

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Memory Too Has a History

Guy Beiner

For all the talk of the past, much of the current infatuation with memory has been driven by the concerns of the present, while the popularisation of psychoanalytical discourse has favoured engagement with supposedly traumatic events which can accrue political capital.

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Passing It On

Connal Parr

The historian and adult education champion RH Tawney, whose personal and work life were often stormy, may be seen to represent through his career the idea of the nobility of public service. He put the best of himself into his work of spreading understanding and culture.

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Making Good

David Ralph

Between 1850 and 1930 the population of the United States rose from nine to 123 million, most of the newcomers being poor immigrants fleeing northern, southern and eastern Europe. Some, like the O’Shaughnessys from Galway, were to do very well in their new home.

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James McFadden

James McFadden grew up in Donegal, the son of a travelling salesman. He himself operated a touring picture show and then a cinema in the town of Falcarragh, while also learning the trade of a tailor. But the business, eventually, failed to prosper and the family moved to Coventry to seek work.

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Rousing the Reader

Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin

It is language itself ‑ its multiplicity, its straining after meaning, the assumptions buried within it ‑ that are illuminated by Paul Muldoon’s work, with the best poems, in his words, giving the alert reader the answers ‘to questions that only they have raised’.

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The Persuaders

John Fanning

There seems to be a dearth of evidence that political ad campaigns actually work. Nevertheless, politicians are always open to the advice of advertising professionals on how to simplify their message and get it across to the public in a way they will find palatable.

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On Not Being Smart Enough

Clara Fischer

Philosophy remains one of the least diverse disciplines in the humanities and social sciences. While great strides have been made in other subject areas, certainly in the European and North American context, university philosophy still includes woefully few women.

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A Fierce Eye

Gerald Dawe

At the heart of Derek Mahon’s new prose collection there is a lot of truth-telling going on about the artist’s life. It is a far cry from the showy, silly lifestyle version we are offered daily from media-hungry celebs, asking the reader to feel their pain.

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Florence O’Donoghue

Caroline Hurley

Born in Killarney in 1928, the son of a former RIC man, Florence O’Donoghue had an eminent career in the law in England and spent much of his life trying to make sense of his dual, and sometimes conflicting, sense of allegiance to both Ireland and Britain.

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Shadow Poems

Paul Perry

Brought up speaking Irish by a Belfast father who was also immersed in Esperanto, Ciaran Carson has translated the poems of a French writer who said he loved his language so much he could learn no other – yet he appeared familiar with the verse of English peasant poet John Clare.

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The Astonishment of Insight

Gerard Smyth

A major new anthology of war poetry covers a range of conflicts including the First World War, the Spanish Civil War, the Second World War, the Vietnam War and Ireland’s ‘Troubles’, in both their twentieth century phases.

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An Incendiary Film

Caroline Hurley

DW Griffith’s ‘Birth of A Nation’, released a hundred years ago and based on a novel by the Scotch-Irish propagandist Thomas Dixon, portrayed the liberation of the slaves in the US South as a plot against civilisation and has been called the most controversial film of all time.

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Thomas Patrick Byrne

Thomas Byrne

Thomas Patrick Byrne (1901-1940) was a casual labourer and soldier until he emigrated to the US, just in time for the great depression. The first in our new series, Irish Lives, in which we will publish brief family histories. Submissions are welcome.

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The Better Truth

Philip Coleman

Theo Dorgan’s new collection contains many moving elegies for lost friends but also some of the most moving and beautiful love poems written by any poet writing in English over the last few decades.

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Consoling Songs

Richard Hayes

Peter Fallon recognises bleakness – the barbed wire of the concentration camp ‘a crown of thorns around the temple of the world’. But, like Orpheus, he can too shape consoling songs from the shards of his own sorrow.

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Sharp words from elsewhere

Thomas McCarthy

Like a cranky uncle who has spent too long in the tropics, Harry Clifton has thrown insults at every poet-cousin he has read, yet his own verse seems to know more and to be wiser than his often ill-advised urges to lecture others on what they are doing wrong might suggest.

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A Life in Books

Carlo Gébler

Denis Sampson’s memoir has no major dramas, and all its crises are inward and personal. Nevertheless it gives readers a sense of what constitutes the real value and the real worth of literature and  writers a sense of what is possible, which can only be good for standards.

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Good Remembering

Gerald Dawe interviewed by Andrea Rea

Five questions for Gerald Dawe from US radio journalist and presenter Andrea Dawe on the occasion of the publication of his collection Mickey Finn’s Air cover composition and selection, memories of Galway and the difference between nostalgia and sentimentality.

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Trollope and Ireland: A Talk

John McCourt, Joycean scholar and chronicler of the Trieste years, will be talking about Anthony Trollope's Irish novels in Books Upstairs, D'Olier Street on Sunday, April 19th.

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Eduardo Galeano: 1940-2015

The Uruguayan writer, journalist and political essayist, who had died aged 74, was an inspirational figure for generations of the Latin American left.

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Günter Grass: 1927-2015

The Nobel prizewinner was the best-known German writer internationally and a major figure in both literature and political controversy over half a century.

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Poems Upstairs: Trumpet Blast!

A Books Upstairs & Poetry Ireland series, this month with writers featured in Poetry Ireland’s new pamphlet Trumpet, including award-winning poet Tara Bergin on Wednesday 6 May.

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Rob Doyle & Aiden O'Reilly

Rob Doyle and Aiden O'Reilly in conversation with David Noone and reading from their debut books at Books Upstairs on Wednesday 22 April.

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All the same we're different

A minister recently suggested that Polish immigrants might be losing out on the possibility of social integration by attending their own schools on Saturdays. But surely if they don't they will be losing out too.

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Remembering George Byrne

Journalist, film critic, pundit and ferocious conversationalist George Byrne died last week. John Fleming remembers the early years.

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The Dublin Library Society

A nineteenth century Dublin institution, first located in Eustace Street and then in D'Olier Street, afforded its members access to newspapers, pamphlets and serious literature, all for the price of one guinea a year.

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Liffey Street Angelus

A poem by Keith Payne from his latest collection

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Recession and Suicide

The causes of a spike in suicides and self-harm have been traced to financial insecurity and other effects of the recession, yet the response is to treat it as a result of staffing problems in the health service.

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Wiping the slate

The desire to obliterate the useless past can be found in various forms, from smashing 'superstitious' statues and images to wishing to ban 'fairy tales' from the classroom.

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Money, managerialism and the university

Prof Thomas Docherty, a leading critic of the managerialist threat to the traditional idea and role of the university, is to give a talk at Maynooth University on March 25th.

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Irish Times Poetry Now award

Theo Dorgan has been awarded the Irish Times Poetry Now award for his most recent collection, 'Nine Bright Shiners'.

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Prizes at Leipzig

Germany's second biggest book fair, at Leipzig, is oriented towards the reading public rather than the trade. Over the last week it attracted 186,000 visitors, a record.

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Write Badly And Influence People

What is the purpose of 'jargon'? Is it simply to bamboozle us and disguise the nature, or absence, of the message? Or do difficult concepts sometimes need difficult words? A bit of both perhaps.

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Man can't spell diarrhoea ...

In the editing game there's no reason why you shouldn't get everything in your text just so - as long as you've got unlimited time and an endless supply of well-trained staff. But in the real world nine out of ten sometimes ain't bad.

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In a Spanish bookshop

It is surprising perhaps to stumble across a small independent bookshop in a side street, and it can be even more surprising what you will find in it.

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New Books

Irish Literature

Featuring new poetry from Paul Durcan, Mary Madec and Mark Granier; as well as The Hennessy Book of Irish Fiction 2005-2015.

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World Literature

Featuring Colm Toibín On Elizabeth Bishop; The Oxford Handbook of Modern and Contemporary American Poetry; a biography of T.S. Eliot Young Eliot; as well as Clive James’ new poetry collection Sentenced to Life.

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Irish History & Politics

Featuring Terence Brown’s history of The Irish Times: 150 Years of Influence; a history of Irish migrant welfare in Britain since 1957, Welcoming the Stranger; and Niamh Hourigan’s book about the Irish national character, Rule Breakers.


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World History & Politics

Featuring controversial new biography The Rise of Thomas Cromwell; and a collection devoted to 21st century Germany, The Third Reich in History and Memory; as well as Eugene Rogen’s The Fall of the Ottomans.

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Irish Culture, Philosophy & Science

Featuring Suicide: A Modern Obession; and A Taste of Love, the autobiography of Irish Times food writer Theodora FitzGibbon.

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World Culture, Philosophy & Science

Tony Judt’s new book When the Facts Change; Alain de Botton’s The News: A User’s Manual; Jon Ronson’s So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed; and Dervla Murphy’s journeys into Israel and Palestine Between River and Sea.

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Ireland 1912 - 1922

Featuring Diarmaid Ferriter’s account of the Irish Revolutions A Nation Not a Rabble; a first-hand account of the 1916 Rising Inside the GPO, as well as the latest titles from the 16 Lives series – Con Colbert and Willie Pearse.

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More New Books ...